Wednesday, February 26, 2014

House of the Dead (1978)

aka Alien Zone

A man having an affair catches a taxi back to his hotel, but gets dropped off on the wrong street.  It's late at night and no ones around, so he finds a doorway to duck out the rain.  A man who turns out to be a mortician invites him in and tells shows off his  latest four customers.

Ms. Sibiler is an angry woman who hates kids, which makes her career choice an unfortunate one since she's an elementary school teacher. When she gets home from work, she finds the neighborhood unnaturally quiet.  When she tries to relax, odd things start to happen and she fears someone is in the house. As in all anthologies with angry women yelling at children, you know it won't turn out well.

In story number two, Mr. Growski is a creep with a movie camera   in his living room which he uses to discretely film the women he invites to his apartment.  The segment starts with him being arrested but there is never any reason offered for his behavior or exposition regarding how he gets caught. Also why wold a woman on a blind date go to a man's apartment and agree to take off her pantyhose when he says he need them to show her a magic trick. When he gets all pouty because he only wants to do that one trick, it's a sign that something is seriously wrong here.

Story number three pits Chief Detective Toliver, the best detective in the US, against Inspector McDowal, the best in Scotland yard.  Rolling Stone has called them the world's leading criminologists and the both want to prove they are better than the other. Yes, because I always read Rolling Stone to find out who is the best at solving crimes.  

Lastly, in a world full of big mustaches, Cantwell proves that the bigger the mustache, the bigger the jerk. He is always aggravated at everyone and everything. He even disses his coworker Dan who asks him to go to lunch at a place that has 23 different kinds of hamburgers. How could he pass that up?  Wouldn't you know it, Cantwell should have gone to the hamburger joint since he ends up locked in a empty storefront which leads to injury, psychological torture, and many bottles of wine.

The has a Night Gallery feel since you know there's always going to be some nasty well deserved ending for the characters.  Also why was the original title Alien Zone?  There are no aliens in this film, and it's totally misleading.  While this was fairly pedestrian, I liked it better than Haunts.

Thrill to the sound of the theme song titled, The Sound of Goodbye, which reminds me of the Love Theme from Bog.  It contains lyrics that are totally inappropriate for a horror movie, the most memorable being in the chorus, "The saddest melody is the sound of goodbye."  How does that work into this mess of murder and morticians?

The days before only hot co-eds took showers
Old Halloween masks rule. What are those, wax teeth?
Watch for the kid that drools when he lifts his mask. 
You want my pantyhose? Nothing awkward about that. 
It's Dr. Bombay!
Cubicles of the 70s
The era of big mustaches

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